Dancing With the Apes: Kecak Dance, Bali

I intensely dislike monkeys. Maybe it is just envy. Although there is ample evidence that our evolutionary stem has developed a superior brain, deep down at the coccyx of my psyche there may still exist the tail stub of an ape. Maybe I still have a repressed urge to play with myself in public, fling my feces and steal every shiny object that isn’t nailed down.
At the Uluwatu temple in Bali, Indonesia I got stuck in a tourist trap, a narrow passageway facing a phalanx of not-so-great apes. Luckily I had been warned to remove my glasses and shiny objects and clutch my camera. But a woman in front of me was not so cautious. She let out a scream as a marauding macaque snatched her earring and taunted her to return it in exchange for a banana. Come to think of it, this hairy extortionist might consider an alternate career in banking.

But monkeys are untouchable in this Hindu temple perched on a cliff above the Indian Ocean. Every night, in a performance of the Kecak, or Monkey Dance, the monkey-like Varana helps a prince fight off an evil king while 100 men chatter like macaques.

More

Budapest: Wine, Song and Women Who Look Like Zsa Zsa (Audio)

Old world Europe. Where do you find it outside of faded movies these days? Where do you find the heart wrenching chanteuses, the gypsy violins, the grand baroque cafes where you can pine about the meaning of life and nibble on cakes.

If you want that old feeling…go to Budapest.

More

Scotch and Snowdas On The North Pole (Audio)

WHAM! SMACK! WHACK! Smash! Thud! Shudder-creak-crash! I am nearly seasick in this coffin-size wooden box as it hammers relentlessly into ridges of ice atop frozen Barrow Strait. The coffin is sealed upon a komatik (Eskimo sled), the komatik is pulled by a snorting Skidoo, and I am buried under a caribou hide that would smell worse than bad drains were it not stiff with icicles.

More

FEATURED VIDEOS & PHOTOS